Jun 6, 2018

MLB buys the company that makes its baseballs

Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Mertinez hits a home run. Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners and Major League Baseball agreed to jointly buy Rawlings, a St. Louis-based sporting goods and equipment maker, from Newell Brands for $395 million.

Why it's a big deal: Because MLB is three years into a home run surge that many believe is enabled by juiced baseballs, which are made by Rawlings. MLB has said its testing shows no such alterations, but also has the rhetorical "out" that it isn't the manufacturer. This deal eliminates that arms-length plausible deniability.

Rawlings generated around $330 million in revenue last year. Newell acquired it via the $13 billion purchase of Jarden in 2016, and is divesting as part of a larger debt-reduction plan.

Bottom line, per WSJ's Maria Armental: "Rawlings, which is credited with introducing the first football shoulder pads, traces its roots to a small store in St. Louis opened by brothers George and Alfred Rawlings. Its gloves have been worn by baseball greats like Roberto Clemente and Mickey Mantle. And Rawlings baseballs have been the official, and exclusive, game balls since 1977."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

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